Split docket: TSA legislation and user fees

As we move towards the national elections this November, it’s time to energize our general aviation community once again. There are two issues to examine and let our elected representatives in Washington know how we feel. One issue is the perfect storm: User fees. The second issue is an opportunity to have Congress send to the President’s desk the Air Travelers’ Bill of Rights.

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Flight instructors blindsided by GAO report

When you eat bananas, the best people to ask how the bananas taste are those who eat bananas. When you want to know about growing bananas, you ask those who grow the bananas. So if you do an investigative report dealing with flight instruction, wouldn’t you go to those involved in teaching student pilots?

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Latest General Aviation Security Magazine released

General Aviation News’s GA Security blogger, Dave Hook, has released the Summer 2012 edition of his General Aviation Security Magazine. It’s chock full of interesting articles from a number of guest authors. Check it out here.

General aviation airport inspections and the TSA

In my previous post I covered what an agent of the TSA could “request” of a general aviator. Because the article was so regulation intense, I sent an early draft to the TSA’s Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs for comment. They afforded me the courtesy of a review with useful comments by my requested deadline. Thank you.

I want to share two comments from my reviewer that go further into TSA authority and assistance. The first comment pertains to the authority of the TSA to conduct airport inspections. The second deals with a useful resource that’s been around a while, but is still worthy of mention.

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Of airport BBQs and the TSA

I am partial to barbeques, so when I received a recent invitation to go to a local airport and enjoy a free barbeque lunch and escape the office, I jumped at the opportunity.

I had the pleasure of enjoying my pulled-pork sandwich and iced tea with some local aviators that call the airport home. The opportunity to sit outside, talk about airplanes, and swap flying stories was a like a breath of fresh air. It sure beats reading intelligence reports and legislative proposals!

While my lunch buddies and I took turns swapping stories, one told me that a pair of officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had been walking around and asking questions at the airport recently. According to my picnic tablemate, the single biggest question posed by the agents was why airplanes didn’t have propeller locks installed when they were parked behind locked hangar doors. I was more concerned about why the two were there in the first place and that my lunch buddy somehow felt compelled to answer their questions.

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Couldn’t sign the user fee petition? Here’s help

I’ve been receiving emails from readers who wanted to sign the petition against user fees, but couldn’t. Here is what I propose we do: If you send me the same registration information that was required, I will consolidate it and send it to President Obama.

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User fees…Only 3,035 against?

Really? Are there only 3,035 general aviators out there who are against paying a $100 per flight user fee?

Click here to sign the petition. If you’re not already convinced, then please read on.

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BOLO: Protecting our GA community

At last count there are more than 627,000 active pilots in the United States. That comes out to over 2.5 million eyes and ears. It’s the power of that number of eyes and ears that makes what I’m about to introduce an extremely powerful tool for general aviation security.

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TSA comment period closes March 1

Do you know about 49 CFR 1552? This regulation deals with alien flight training and flight school security awareness training and is one of the few federal security regulations that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration requires compliance from general aviation. Are you interested in submitting your comments to the TSA and the Office of Management and Budget concerning this training? Now’s your chance.

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GA Security: Risk controlling — how much?


How much disposable income should I invest in security stuff to protect my aircraft?

This question is probably one of the most sensitive that I get because flying is not cheap. Even if we have the best of situations, there are still annual inspections and scheduled maintenance, repair of things that break from normal wear and tear, state and local taxes, hangar or tie down fees, GPS database subscriptions, not to mention the fuel and oil. “So with all of these expenses just to be able to go enjoy my $100 hamburger, now I’m supposed to buy security, too?”

I hear you.

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